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Retrospective: Concorso d’Eleganza, 2019

Photos from Concorso d'Eleganza 2019

This time last year, I was kicking back on the banks of Lake Como—sipping white wine in my Sunday best, and watching the vehicles of the 90th annual Concorso d’Eleganza roll on by.

And that’s where I was supposed to be right now; back on the lawns of Villa d’Este and its neighbouring estate, Villa Erba, for this year’s Concorso. But a global pandemic has shut down half the world and called for a postponement, and so I’m taking a look back at last year’s event instead.

Concorso d'Eleganza, Villa d'Este, 2019

The Concorso d’Eleganza is easily one of the most unique events I’ve ever attended. The two villas are in located in Cernobbio, a commune on lake Como that’s about 40 km north of Milan. Getting from our hotel to the show grounds involved a ten minute walk to the local yacht club, followed by a ferry ride along the lake.

Instead of trying to squeeze my helmet and riding gear into my luggage, I packed a straw fedora, blazer and an assortment of shirts and ties. The show’s dress code is reflected in the vehicles on display; an assortment of rare, classic and ultra-desirable automobiles and motorcycles.

Concorso d'Eleganza, Villa d'Este, 2019

I was invited a guest of BMW Motorrad, reporting for Bike EXIF. BMW are headline sponsors of the event, and have traditionally used it as a platform for revealing concept vehicles. This year, those were the Concept R18 [above]; a teaser of their recently revealed R 18 cruiser, and the Garmisch; a recreation of a lost concept car from 1970.

Between vehicle unveilings, epic dinners, late night bourbons and lazy afternoons (both rainy and sunny), the Concorso d’Eleganza was part work trip, part petrolhead’s dream, and part social occasion. I might not be there right now, but I’ll definitely be back in the future.

Concorso d'Eleganza, Villa d'Este, 2019

Concorso d'Eleganza, Villa d'Este, 2019

All images by Wes Reyneke